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As a technical editor it’s my job to use all my left-brain prowess to make crochet patterns error-free, clear, and consistent. Trying to do that can be akin to tackling a giant logic puzzle, like an evil-level Sudoku. But when I’m designing, it’s my right brain in play – the creative part of me that wants to explore. I pride myself on writing the best possible pattern I can, but sometimes a little part of me wishes I could do something different. Here’s my thought process when I’m writing a pattern:
Two-Color Crochet Shawl Pattern
Yes, the working title of this pattern shows off my creative naming ability. Naming is the second hardest part of pattern writing. The hardest part is romance text (that’s the descriptive text that tries to convince you to make the project).
Color is the story in this charming shawl. A sock weight yarn and easy-to-memorize striping pattern form the basis of this great project. Wrap yourself in comfort and color with the Two-color shawl.
All I really wanted to say here was “this is pretty; you should make it.” My editor thought it needed more than that. It’s not unusual for me to hire a friend to write the pretty-description paragraph, because I usually do this part of pattern writing last, and by that point my brain is fried.
Look! That’s me! I’m famous! Ok, not really. But every once in a while someone says they’ve heard of me, and that is cool.
Easy. Unless you happen to have been crocheting for longer than I’ve been alive. Then, for some reason none of us can figure out, you will find this to be Challenging.
49.5 inches long across top and 21 inches deep at center-back, including edging
In theory. To actually achieve this you will have to match my gauge. Let’s all just admit now that you aren’t even going to bother with gauge swatching for this.
Sock weight yarn
437 yds each colors A and B
Why? Because this is the yarn I got in an online swap. And it was one skein of each color and it was sooo pretty I just had to use it to make something.
Sample made in Phydeaux Yarn Bambou 80% merino wool, 20% bamboo (3.53 oz [100 g], 437 yd [400 m]) per skein: 1 skein each Candied Violets (A) and Persephone (B)
I lost the yarn labels and had to ask my friend to ask the yarn company which yarn it was based on the color. Usually I’m more put together than that.
F/5 (3.75 mm) crochet hook or size needed to obtain gauge
How do I determine the size of hook to use? It could be because it produced the perfect drape after hours of testing different hook sizes. Or, it could be because it was the first hook I pulled out of the drawer.
13 dc and 8 rows = 3 inches
Part of me wants to refuse to list gauge on principle because NO ONE WILL SWATCH. I’m too much of a goody two-shoes though.
This is where I will put all the information you will ignore. It’s ok, it doesn’t hurt my feelings. I’m fairly sure the answer to the meaning of life is actually in a pattern note somewhere, but no one has noticed.
For a clean-looking finish, make the last yo and pull through the last dc of the row using the color for the next row. For example, if you are working a row with A and the next row will be with B, work the last dc as follows: with A, yo, insert hook in last st to be worked into, yo, pull up a loop, yo, pull through 2 loops on hook, drop A, yo with B, pull through 2 loops on hook.
If you do not want to cut the yarn after each section of color, you can carry the unused color up the side by twisting it through the edge stitches. View this technique in the tutorial videos section at www.PoetryinYarn.com.
I debated whether to make (dc, ch 1, dc), which is also called a V-st, a “special stitch” for this pattern or not; special stitches are defined outside the main text of the pattern to keep the pattern text concise. It would take me less than ten minutes to write out the special stitch. Before I do that though, I will spend three days debating whether I need to include this as a special stitch or not. I will also email three or four designer friends to ask their opinion on this. This will devolve into a ten-email conversation thread where we all bemoan how much work we have to do and how it’s so hard to meet all these deadlines.
With A, ch 4.
It’s such a cute, short chain. It lies. It starts out all tiny but before you know it the shawl is huge and a single row will take half an hour to make.
Row 1: 6 dc in 4th ch from hook (3 skipped chs count as first dc), turn. (7 dc)
I resent having to write things like “turn.” Knit patterns never write “turn” unless it’s fancy short rows. If only I could make it more interesting. “Turn, feeling an overwhelming sense of euphoria.” “Turn, and tell the person sitting to your right ‘live long and prosper.’” “Turn, for thou art victorious in thy battles.”
Row 2: Ch 4 (counts as first dc and ch-1 sp), dc in first st, *dc in next st, (dc, ch 1, dc) in next st, rep from * 2 times, turn. (12 dc, 4 ch-1 sps)
We got to Row 2. Can I quit yet? I’ve written two whole rows. I think I should stop now and treat myself to coffee and some chocolate.
Row 3: With B, ch 3 (counts as first dc here and throughout), (dc, ch 1, dc) in first ch-1 sp, *dc in each of next 3 dc, (dc, ch 1, dc) in next ch-1 sp, rep from * 2 times, dc in last dc, turn. (19 dc, 4 ch-1 sps)
Those numbers in parentheses at the end are total stitch counts. You should have 19 dc stitches and 4 chain spaces at the end of Row 3. Really. Please stop and check, I beg of you.
Row 4: Ch 3, skip next dc, (dc, ch 1, dc) in first ch-1 sp, * dc in each of next 5 dc, (dc, ch 1, dc) in next ch-1 sp, rep from * 2 times, skip next dc, dc in last dc, turn. (25 dc, 4 ch-1 sps)
Writing Row 4 involved copying and pasting Row 3 and then changing some numbers. When you use copy-and-paste when writing a pattern you save time and manage to turn one small error into three! Just ask my technical editor. She can tell you all about it. Bless her for putting up with me.
Row 5: With A, ch 3, skip next dc, (dc, ch 1, dc) in first ch-1 sp, * dc in each of next 7 dc, (dc, ch 1, dc) in next ch-1 sp, rep from * 2 times, skip next dc, dc in last dc, turn. (31 dc, 4 ch-1 sps)
Oh look! We’re back to color A! Yay! “A” is for “Yay!” How much longer till I’m done and can go back to crocheting?
Row 6: Ch 3, skip first dc, (dc, ch 1, dc) in first ch-1 sp, * dc in each dc across to next ch-1 sp, (dc, ch 1, dc) in next ch-1 sp, rep from * 2 times, skip next dc, dc in last dc, turn. (37 dc, 4 ch-1 sps)
Rep row 6, alternating 2 rows of B with 2 rows of A, 48 times. At end of last row, fasten off A. (325 dc, 4 ch-1 sps)
OH THANK G-D. Every time I write a pattern I’m so happy when I get to the point where I can just say to repeat. Rows 1-5? Fifteen minutes of writing. Rows 6-54? Twenty seconds. Booyah.
At this point my designing mojo is totally gone and I’ll probably just tell you to do reverse single crochet around the whole thing. Oh wait, no. I actually had a good idea this time.
Row 1: With B, ch 1, sc in first dc, ch 1, dc in next dc, *ch 1, sc in next ch-1 sp, ch 1, dc in next dc, (ch 1, sc in next dc, ch 1, dc in next dc) across to next ch-1 sp, rep from *2 times, ch 1, sc in next ch-1 sp, ch 1, dc in next dc, ch 1, sc in last dc, fasten off. (165 sc, 164 dc)
Fasten off. Seriously. What else will you do? Leave the remaining yarn hanging from the end of the shawl for the rest of eternity? SMH.
Weave in ends and block if needed.
Now let’s be all happy because we finished a pretty shawl. Hip, hip, HOORAY!
ch(s) = chain
dc = double crochet
RS = Right Side
rep = repeat
sc = single crochet
st(s) = stitch(es)
sp(s) = space(s)
WS = Wrong Side
Yo = yarnover